An outbreak of a bacterial infection that can be fatal to children has been declared by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
The serious and highly contagious pertussis, known as whopping cough, is currently present in the southeast.
The Medical Health Officer for the four to six networks, Dr. David Torr, said that residents in the southwest should be aware and cautious.
“We've also had recently cases of whooping cough in our end of the woods, so it is everywhere,” he said. “We've been monitoring southeast Alberta where they've had a number of outbreaks [since] March of this year. And at the same time, when we monitor our immunization records, there are a number of folks who are behind on their immunizations, and we would really encourage folks to catch up with those.”
Young kids under the age of one are most at risk of being vitally affected. However, Dr. Torr said it’s important that everyone is aware of how to prevent the spreading of it.
The vaccine is a series requiring a booster to maintain protection against the illness, one at the age of 18, and again during pregnancy.
“For children, it can be quite prolonged and quite agonizing,” he added. “It's extremely exhausting because you're coughing all the time, really [struggling] for air. It can last, especially in unvaccinated children, from a month, two months to three months, and it's extremely exhausting. Extremely agonizing. 24 hours a day coughing. There's no resting.”
To learn more about whooping cough, visit the SHA website here.